5 Reasons You should start Traveling with Kids Early

I guess you could say, I was born to travel. I mean, it is sort of in my DNA. My Father grew up as an original Third Culture Kid. Born into an Air Force family, he moved from England, France, Morocco and Syracuse. When he joined Foreign Affairs, he and my Mother instantaneously began to move and travel. At one point, I tried counting the amount of planes I have been on, and I lost track at 350… that is a lot of flying!

I don’t actually recommend moving as much as I have, it has been difficult to say the least, but I love traveling with my son, and showing him what the world has to offer. We began traveling with him at the ripe age of 2 months. He went on his first plane trip at 4 months, and he hasn’t stopped. Now, he is more independent, being able to read, pack and heck navigate any airport himself at the age of 8. He is an absolute blast to travel with, and comes up with the best observations.

  1. Since we are Canadian, I feel we live in a ridiculously clean, safe little bubble. I don’t want my son to know just his safe bubble, I want him to see the struggles and poverty that exists outside of our regular lives. In Canada, poverty is easily masked, it isn’t in your face as it is in other countries. I grew up facing dire poverty outside of our diplomatic bubble, it is pretty hard to ignore in countries such as the Philippines and Venezuela. It made me more compassionate, and I want my son to grow up with the same compassion for the plight of others. He now stops to give food to the homeless in Toronto and Vancouver, he doesn’t ignore.

2. With Travel, comes a wisdom, and a feeling that so much is possible in life. The more we travel, the more we are sharing history, knowledge and             possibilities with our son. Instead of making our life smaller, we are expanding it.

3. Having lived the life that I did, I had a lot of fears, it comes with the territory, but one of the best things that travel gave me, was a sense of                       fearlessness when it came to experiencing something new. I wanted to pass that to my son. I watch so many people who are terrified of moving,             whether it be for school or a job, so they stay in the same spot, getting angrier and more depressed. Their fear of moving, even if it is for                           something better, paralyses them, so they don’t do it. From day 1, I wanted to make sure my son didn’t have fear of the unknown, the unknown               can bring the most fantastic adventures, friends, and experiences. Travel, has already created that. He is not afraid to hop on a plane, nor is he               afraid of us moving again, even though, I am pretty sure, we are already creating roots here.

4. Bring on a more open-minded kid. I grew up with 2 conservative looking parents, I mean, my mother wore pearls and sweater sets, and                            well, my  Father was rarely out of a suit and tie. Yet, they were the most open-minded people you could meet, at least, my Father was,                                sometimes I think my Mother has digressed, but that is a whole other blog post. My Father was pretty clear in one thing, skin colour, religion,                sexual identity and gender, were all off the table in assumptions, no question was dumb or off-limits, but answers, well those could be dumb,                  and quick judgments on anyone were quickly scolded. Our son, is exposed to different cultures, religions, and in the case of Thailand, gender as             well as sexual identity. I don’t shy away from any subject, no matter how awkward I feel about it.

5. Confidence. Being able to travel and get out of your comfort zone, takes a certain amount of confidence. By starting to travel early, you are                       essentially feeding your child a kind of confidence that only comes with travel. Seeing and doing new things in a different culture and language,             helps build a confidence that can’t ever be taken away from a child!

Happy traveling everyone.

Dip Kid

Cultural Identity

I am not exactly sure when I became aware of my skin colour, my identity, my accent, my Father’s unique job or even my birth country and how obviously out of place it all was to my surroundings. One move seemed to blend into another. The only thing I seemed to know, was how to navigate new schools, and airports.

By grade 8, I was 13, we were posted back to Canada. My apparent home and native land, I am not sure how homey it really was for me. My parents made the decision to move back to the neighbourhood we had been living in before we moved to the Philippines. It was a familiar neighbourhood, I knew some people, I knew the school. There was only one glaring difference when we came back, it felt more foreign to me than anything else.

I would find myself trying to navigate something I hadn’t been completely aware of before. Back in the Philippines, I stood out. I was very pale, blue eyed with hair that was turning a shade of auburn, I was always in a sea of beautiful tanned skin, dark hair and petite frames. I looked around my school, and it was a sea of WASP kids. I could apparently blend in a little more easily, or could I?

Before school started, my Mother and I went shopping to buy some fall clothes. I had been living in the tropics and owned nothing that had long sleeves or even legs, or boots for that matter. As we walked through the mall, everything was awkward, and uncomfortable. The shops only carried clothes in shades of black, brown, and dark green. I had been used to bright sun shiny colours that made you happy. My Mother commented on the prices, she almost passed out when looking at them. We were used to stopping in Hong Kong, and going into the fashion district, everything there was $10 and under. Here, it seemed everything was over $100, including my running shoes. My Mother got nervous. We didn’t have lots of money. She said we had to start slow. I could pick out a couple of things, but I was not getting a whole new wardrobe at once. I understood. Gone were the days of getting something made for a couple of dollars, or only having a wardrobe for one season. I made sure I picked out an outfit that would blend. I spent a better part of a day observing what everyone around me was wearing.

When I arrived at school, my mouth almost unhinged to the floor. Everyone, and I mean everyone, looked more like me. It was an odd experience, something I became leery of. I quickly observed, that there were only 2 minority kids, one Chinese, one Korean. The weird thing for me, was I identified more with the minority kids, than I did with the rest of the student population.

As soon as I opened my mouth in class, out came a Filipino accent. I answered a question and out came a lilt to my words that jarred everyone awake. They all laughed, and began to make fun of me. My accent made me stand out. As we moved into our French class for the day, I had slunk down into my chair, trying to be invisible. When I was called on to answer a question in French, I hesitated, then answered slowly. The teacher, remarked how beautiful my accent was. My classmates, confused, unaware of my ability to copy accents in other languages, yet, I couldn’t get rid of my very Filipino lilt as quickly or as easily.

I went home. Not understanding how to fit in, or where I really belonged. As much as I looked like everyone on the outside, I was nothing like any of these kids on the inside. It was at 13, I realized, I just had to somehow figure out how to hide my true self, and just blend as best as I could.

Dip Kid